Nose reshaping surgery, also known as rhinoplasty, can be used to alter the size or shape of the nose. The operation is often considered for cosmetic reasons or to restore the original shape of the nose after an injury. As well as reducing or increasing the size of the nose the procedure can also alter crookedness, nostril width or the shape of the tip, bridge or angle of the nose.
What does the operation involve?
Nose reshaping surgery can take between 1 to 2 hours depending on the procedure involved and is usually performed under general anaesthetic. Typically, all incisions are made from inside the nose so that scarring is rarely visible. If the nose is being made smaller, bone and cartilage is removed through these incisions or rearranged to achieve the shape desired. The skin is not cut because it shrinks to fit over the adjusted size or shape, however it is sometimes necessary to cut the skin between the nostrils.
If the nose is being made larger, extra bone or cartilage is taken from another area of the body, this may be from the ears or a rib.
What to expect post surgery?
Specialist post–op care:
> On the day of discharge nasal packs will be removed.
> The nasal splint needs to stay until the dressing clinic at about 1 week.
> TED stockings to be worn for 2 weeks.
> Moisturise the scar for 3 months.
> Once the splint is removed the inside of the nose can be gently cleaned by dipping the nose in a bowl of salt water (room temperature water with a pinch of salt) and gently cleaning with a cotton bud. The water can also be breathed into the nose and spat out to give a more thorough cleaning.
> No blowing of nose - any discharge can be gently wiped.
> Coughing and sneezing through the mouth.
> Keep the head upright sleeping on a few pillows and avoid bending the head down.
> Avoid crowded areas for the first 3 weeks to avoid accidental knocks to the nose.
> No aeroplane flights for 2 weeks after the operation.
Please click here for more general post-operation care.
What are the risks?
Common side effects:
> Soreness, swelling and bruising particularly around the eyes can last up to a month.
> Swelling makes it hard to breath through the nose until it has reduced.
> Stiffness and numbness in the nose can last for a few months, although stiffness may remain more permanently.
Uncommon but potential complications:
As with any operation problems may arise with an unexpected reaction to the anesthetic, excessive bleeding, blood clots or infection. Complications can occur during or after the procedure.
Further risks specifically related to nose reshaping surgery include:
> The development of a chest or nose infection (treatable with antibiotics).
> Heavy nosebleeds shortly after the operation.
> Occasionally, a hole is left in the septum during the operation and further surgery is required to repair the damage.
> About 10% of people are not happy with their nose reshaping, believing that the nose has been altered too much or too little.